I’ve written previously about how kanban, kaizen and total quality management can help insurance marketers work more effectively and efficiently. These principles, borrowed from lean manufacturing techniques, can not only help insurers optimize their marketing spend, but can also help them better engage with customers.
However, a word of caution: decades ago, when western manufacturers tried to replicate Toyota’s lean manufacturing success, they failed because they were focused on the visible elements and didn’t understand the underlying philosophies. Accordingly, my colleagues Joshua Bellin and Paul F. Nunes have written an article for Outlook on five ways to gear up for just-in-time marketing success.
- Focus on pull, not reach. Brand-building advertising is still important, and separate from the targeted pull that is the objective of just-in-time marketing. To achieve the latter, insurers should zero in on customers who are already inclined to buy, and engage them with relevant offers or value-added services.
- Know when to engage and where. It’s easy to rely on superficial metrics like Facebook likes or click-throughs, but customers today need and expect more. Insurers should invent new ways to influence target audience, such as by offering tailored recommendations based on past behavior.
- Invest in interactions, not campaigns. Just-in-time marketing is most successful at the individual customer level, and requires total quality across marketing, sales and service functions—with a laser focus on improving the customer experience.
- Unite and align marketing activities. Cross-functional teams can enable marketing teams to iterate and optimize activities more quickly.
- Make continuous improvements. Just-in-time marketing teams use data and analytics to refine their understanding of customer preferences—and update them frequently and automatically.
In short, insurance marketers should focus on specific, interested shoppers and enable cross-functional teams to find them at the right time, with an innovative and compelling offer.